2021 could possibly be an enormous yr for UK-based fighters within the UFC. Darren Until faces Marvin Vettori within the UFC’s subsequent essential occasion and will obtain a UFC Middleweight title shot with a win. In the meantime, Liverpool-based prospect Paddy Plimblett has additionally been signed by the promotion.
Over time, we’ve seen loads of UK-based fighters enter the UFC’s Octagon, however who’s the best British UFC fighter of all time?
There are a variety of notable candidates, however the next 5 stand out as being the perfect British fighters in UFC historical past.
#5 Ross Pearson (UFC file: 12-13-1)
Whereas the again finish of his UFC profession broken his file considerably, Ross Pearson stays probably the most excellent UFC fighters to be produced by the UK.
The Actual Deal first emerged into the UFC by way of the ninth season of TUF. Coached by Michael Bisping, Pearson gained the Light-weight match within the USA vs. UK match, outpointing his countryman Andre Winner within the finals.
Few followers anticipated him to go onto main UFC success, however he really grew to become one of many Light-weight division’s most dependable fighters.
Pearson picked up main wins over the likes of Dennis Siver, Spencer Fisher, and Grey Maynard throughout his decade-long tenure with the UFC.
And in 2012, he grew to become the second British fighter to educate on a collection of TUF, going up in opposition to George Sotiropoulos’ workforce of Australians. The Actual Deal would knock Sotiropoulos out on the finale of the present.
Pearson was by no means capable of achieve a shot on the UFC Light-weight title and was well beyond his prime when he lastly left the UFC in 2019. However this likable fighter nonetheless makes it onto the record of the perfect British fighters in UFC historical past.
#4 Darren Until (UFC file: 6-3-1)
Darren Until’s UFC file isn’t all that gaudy, however there’s no denying this product of Liverpool has established himself as one of many UFC’s best British fighters.
The Gorilla debuted within the UFC on brief discover again in 2015 however made an on the spot splash by violently TKO’ing Wendell Oliveira.
From there, his rise was understated. He drew with Nicolas Dalby after injuring his shoulder, however after wins over Jessin Ayari and Bojan Velickovic, Until was given an enormous likelihood by the UFC.
In the primary occasion of the UFC’s first present in Gdansk, he discovered himself dealing with off with veteran Donald Cerrone. He subsequently stopped Cowboy within the first spherical.
The win launched Until into stardom, significantly within the UK. And simply months later, he headlined the UFC’s first present in his hometown of Liverpool in opposition to veteran Stephen Thompson.
After receiving one of many greatest reactions in UFC historical past from his residence crowd, The Gorilla outpointed Wonderboy to earn a shot at UFC Welterweight champ Tyron Woodley.
Until misplaced that combat, and following one other loss to Jorge Masvidal, he moved to 185lbs, the place he immediately moved into title competition with a win over Kelvin Gastelum.
The Gorilla is now probably one win away from a shot at UFC Middleweight champ Israel Adesanya – which may imply that he could change into the following fighter from the UK to say UFC gold.
#3 Dan Hardy (UFC file: 6-4)
The primary fighter from the UK to obtain a shot at a UFC title, it’s straightforward to neglect Dan Hardy’s accomplishments.
That’s in all probability as a result of The Outlaw is seen extra as a commentator today, as he was compelled into semi-retirement on account of a congenital coronary heart problem found again in 2012.
Hardy – who was lately launched by the UFC after a mysterious spat with an unnamed UFC official – joined the promotion in 2008 after a powerful run that noticed him win eight of 9 fights, with the one loss coming by way of disqualification.
He defeated PRIDE veteran Akihiro Gono in his UFC debut and adopted that up with spectacular wins over Rory Markham and Marcus Davis.
These wins propelled The Outlaw right into a shocking UFC Welterweight title eliminator with Mike Swick. And Hardy duly gained the combat to earn a shot at champion Georges St. Pierre.
The native of Nottingham misplaced that title shot however put up combat and lasted the space with GSP. And whereas he misplaced his subsequent three fights – to Carlos Condit, Anthony Johnson, and Chris Lytle – he was by no means really outclassed.
Hardy acquired again on the profitable observe in 2012 with wins over Duane Ludwig and Amir Sadollah. However as beforehand said, his uncommon coronary heart situation then compelled him into early retirement.
Regardless of this, although, Hardy’s achievements stay among the greatest from a British fighter within the UFC and positively warrant him a spot on this record.
#2 Leon Edwards (UFC file: 10-2-1)
When Leon Edwards debuted within the UFC in 2014 in a forgettable loss to Claudio Silva, no person would’ve predicted that he’d be thought-about among the finest Welterweights on the earth just some years later.
However that’s precisely what Rocky now’s, and with maybe one or two extra wins, he may discover himself in line for a shot on the UFC Welterweight title.
The change in Edwards’ fortunes actually started when he took nearly six months off following a loss to Kamaru Usman in December 2015. Rocky returned in 2016 a much-improved fighter, full with arguably the perfect wrestling UFC followers had ever seen from a British fighter.
And within the years which have adopted, Edwards has put collectively an unbeaten run of 9 fights, together with wins over Donald Cerrone, Vicente Luque, and Rafael Dos Anjos.
Rocky would maybe be in line for the following title shot had he defeated Belal Muhammad earlier this month. However the combat led to a No Contest – leaving his subsequent combat a significant query mark.
Nevertheless, no different British UFC fighter has put collectively a profitable streak fairly like his, making him a snug quantity two on this record.
#1 Michael Bisping (UFC file: 20-9)
Michael Bisping could not have been the primary UFC fighter to hail from the UK – that was Ian The Machine Freeman manner again in 2000 – however he stays by far probably the most profitable.
Bisping was given an enormous push from the UFC’s brass from the off. He gained the Gentle-Heavyweight match on the third season of TUF and shortly discovered himself positioned because the face of the UFC within the UK.
It was Bisping’s star energy that helped the promotion sell-out Manchester’s MEN Enviornment for UFC 70 in 2007. And The Depend lived as much as his hype, stopping Elvis Sinosic within the co-main occasion.
However Bisping’s best successes got here as soon as he dropped to 185lbs in 2008.
With a continually creating skillset based mostly round his sharp placing, underrated wrestling, and unbelievable cardio, he beat fighters like Chris Leben, Denis Kang, and Yoshihiro Akiyama to ascertain himself as one of many world’s high Middleweights.
And his outspoken, brash persona additionally helped to construct his repute as one of many UFC’s premier villains.
Nevertheless, for a very long time, it felt like The Depend was destined to go down as among the finest fighters to by no means declare UFC gold, as he frequently fell brief earlier than gaining a title shot.
That each one modified in 2016, although.
Bisping was thrown right into a combat with UFC Middleweight champion Luke Rockhold on late discover, changing the injured Chris Weidman.
And in one of many greatest upsets in UFC historical past, he knocked Rockhold out within the first spherical to change into the primary British fighter to win a UFC title.
Bisping misplaced the title in his first protection after which retired after one additional loss, however by that time, his legacy was intact. With a powerful file of 20-9 in addition to a reign as UFC Middleweight champion, he stands as the best British fighter in UFC historical past.